Anger management for children - what to do?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Marriage, Relationships & Families
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blue_monkey_2blue_monkey_2 Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Marriage, Relationships & Families
Hi,

Some of you might know I have a son with ASD and behaviour problems but I also have a DD of age 5. My son has always had problems but he took these into school and so they were picked up and he got the help he needed.

Now I have always had 'problems' with my daughter, who is 5. She is super intelligent and is generally and angel for everyone else. She however has not taken her outbursts into school so I have not got any help for her. I do not have people to help out so no-one elsereally gets to see them, just my sister occassionally. When I mentioned it to the doctor told me to 'ignore the bad and praise the good' but 5 years on it clearly is not working.

She has huge rage and anger issues - and they are absolute rage where she will scream, shout, spit, kick, etc... I have tried ignoring it but it is getting ridiculous and I do not think that I can cope with any more of the school holidays without knowing just how to deal with it.

An example, the mornings are always bad - clothes have to be just right, that is in that they have to fit PERFECTLY. This morning has resulted in her raging for 30 minutes because the top, which she chose from the draw, was too long (which I might add, it wasn't it was a perfect fit on her length and arm wise). She screamed, shouted, pulled it around, got up the window naked and was screaming. If I ty to take her from the situation she absolutely goes mental, kicking, screaming, shouting, spitting at me. If I shut her in her room she screams and shouts, kicks the door, her bed, anything, and it takes ages for her to calm down. The day before it was over her shoes, they are always 'slipping off' even if they are so tight they cut off her blood supply - she never seems to be 'happy' with anything unless it is 'just right and perfect' which of course it isn't. I have a draw full of clothes - most of which she refuss to wear, I am tired of wasting money on clothes that she then refuses to wear. Every school morning it means a 45 minute rage over the clothes she has to wear as there is no choice with those.

Now I am at my wits end. This surely is not normal behaviour for a child coming up to the age of 6 is it? Sure she can leave it at home when she goes to school but at home it is totally different, I try to ignore it but it is becoming tiresome and embarrassing for the neighbours to hear her in a constant screaming rage. If only they knew it was because her top is 'the wrong colour blue' or her skirt is 'too baggy' (everything is too baggy!!) or 'too tight'. Socks are rubbing, too tight, too big. ARGH!! Seriously, this isgetting really, really hard to ignore.

Her brother also feels the brunt of these rages but he fights back and she comes off worse and that inflames the whole situation further. They are both constantly covered in bruises and bite marks.

Basically, if she is not get her own way over whatever she wants then she is in a screaming rage over it. And she rages until she foams at the mouth. Is it time for me to go to the doctor and get her sorted out as well? What is it that I am doing wrong in that she is fine at home but not at school? My friends laugh when I say how I can see how some parents can snap - this week I have had her screaming inches from my face over something triial and ridiculous. This really cannot go on any longer.

I hate to say this but my son, even with his problems, is being an angel at the moment compared to this.

I am still putting them to bed at 7pm but she is not sleeping, and I am constantly on at her to go to sleep and I've even been up to sort my son at 10pm and I've found her playing with her toys so this is not helping either, the tiredness.

I have wondered if it is down to attention, sent her for swimming lessons just her and I and there was tantrums over getting to the pool, her suit was too itchy, etc....

Please can someone give me something else I can try. I am getting desperate now. It has started again so best get off the PC.

Thanks.

Replies

  • shazroboshazrobo Forumite
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    hi bm, didnt want to just read and run, my heart goes out to you, but i have no easy answers unfortunatly. i know how your feeling right now, i have been there, my twins are 13 now, and still scream and fight, but not as often.
    is it an option to take her shopping for clothes in future, then if she tries them on, and likes them, she has something she will wear, this worked with my boys, as i said to them you chose it, you wear it end off, after couple days they knew i meant business.
    maybe she has sensory issues, and needs to be checked out, asd can be genetic, i know, as i have identical twins.
    big hugs
    shaz
    enjoy life, we only get one chance at it:)
  • mspigmspig Forumite
    986 Posts
    I have a 5 year old with ASD and he sounds just like your daughter apart from the spitting bit, he has raging moods about his clothes about which shops i'm going in etc.
    We also have a two year old with a rare illness which means he has to have infusions weekly and he gets angry i presume because he doesn't understand why he gets "hurt" as he puts it weekly by mum who has to put a needle in his leg.

    We were told the ignore the bad praise the good for both of them, but found it really hard, so we invested in a punch bag(blow up homer simpson one from argos, its in the gift section) and it is working a treat when they get angry they take it on on homer and up to now for the last month or so it has been a god send. We also started a star chart and a stickers books.

    Star chart we bought from WHsmiths it has magnectic stars and three sections for names and about 12 sections down for different things they get stars for such as no shouting, no hitting, going to bed on time etc.
    The sticker books we went to the pound shop and got some sticker sets they come with sticker books, i then cut the stickers in to individual stickers and put them in a little tub and every time they do something nice, good etc they get to choose a sticker which goes in their sticker book and when they have so many stickers they get a little treat such as a hot wheels car or an extra £1.00 on their spends etc.

    Hope some of this is helpful.
  • blue_monkey_2blue_monkey_2 Forumite
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    Hi shaz, yes, I knew your boys had he same issues really. That is the problem.... she chooses the clothes in the first place, I'll say 'are you are' she will say yes, tags come off and I wash them, next thing they 'don't fit, long, short, too baggy' blah, blah..... £26 on a new pair of trainers and suddenly they don't fit depsite them being fitted by Clarkes!!

    I am scared this is going to go on forever and that it is going to get worse.

    I already restrict what they eat, as you know, because of DS, she just seems to have so much rage over minute things. My husband and I do not argue or raise voces, if we did then I could understand the mirroring thing but generally the household is quiet and we are happy - just that her behaviour is driving us up the wall and while all the advice seems to be 'ignore her' we can't let this go on as it is.
  • easyeasy Forumite
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    I have a son (now aged 9), who has been thru this, still breaks out occaisionally, but generally now much more controlled. We think he has borderline ASD issues too.

    I sympathise, the rages really are difficult to manage, but you have to manage them for her until she learns to do it.

    First, if you see her starting to get angry, remove her from the situation. Stop her from getting dressed or whatever, but make it clear that nothing else happens until the task has been done calmly. So, she stops getting dressed, but sits quietly until she is calm enough to get on with it. She may miss a TV program, or the opportunity to go out or something but tough, she has to do the task calmly before anything else is done.

    When she is having a raging tantrum, can you try to hold her?I mean really hug her, tight. Get her rage physically under control. If you must talk while doing it, talk quietly, or make shushing noises. She will struggle for a few seconds, but should stop fairly quickly. She may cry with the frustration, but that is better than her being a screaming wildcat.

    If you can't manage the hug (My son is a big strong boy, and I'm a petite disabled mum), then the alternative is to lock her in her room. ignore all kicking the door and screaming, she comes out when she has been calm for 5 minutes, not before. If you spend your time trying to talk to her and calm her, you are rewarding her outburst with your attention.

    When she has calmed down, talk to her about how that behaviour isn't acceptable. Make sure she knows that you WILL NOT put up with it. Stop priviledges. My ds now knows that a major meltdown will result in no computer time for 24 hrs, sometimes no TV either.

    Make sure you praise her for a day without a tantrum. I always make a point of thanking my son at bedtime each tantrum free day. Treats are promised on the understanding that behaviour is up to scratch between now and the treat.

    It takes a few weeks to start to get it under control, but it's worth a try
    I try not to get too stressed out on the forum. I won't argue, i'll just leave a thread if you don't like what I say. :)
  • ameliarateameliarate Forumite
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    I have never understood the phrase ignore "the bad" . If you ignore "thebad" how do you discipline a child?
    I don't know about your case it sounds too extreme to be normal and I would get the doctor ASAP but it seems to me if a child exhibits bad behaviour of any kind it needs dealing with one way or another, even if it is a "talk" once they have calmed down about the unacceptability of the tantrums. Have you discussed the matter of her clothing with her?
    What do you do when she is having these rages?
    We don't stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing.
  • easyeasy Forumite
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    ameliarate wrote: »
    I have never understood the phrase ignore "the bad" . If you ignore "the bad" how do you discipline a child?

    Oh I agree, you have to let them know that what they are doing is unacceptable, ignoring it is just pointless.
    However, ignoring a child who is tantrumming does work. Leave the room, do something else, give the other child your attention, all helps to stop an average tantrum much better than shouting at the child.

    Once the childs kicking & flinging has stopped, express your displeasure, tell them what they will lose next time they behave unreasonably.

    Then LET IT GO. Don't keep harping on about for hours. Cheer up and get on with the day.
    I try not to get too stressed out on the forum. I won't argue, i'll just leave a thread if you don't like what I say. :)
  • blue_monkey_2blue_monkey_2 Forumite
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    Thanks for the advice.

    When she is having the rages I walk away from her and let her get on with them. If she is screaming a lot I take her to her room usually - but this is when the kicking starts. She even does it before 7am which is not acceptable - this is the thing, if I ask her not to do it then she gts worse, if I ignore it then she is like a wailing banshee and as we are in a Housing Assossiation property and have only recently moved here I am worried that we might get reported and kicked out for anti-social behaviour.

    I do praise them when they are good or are playing nicely but it takes one little thing to tip her over the edge and this is what worries me really.

    At the moment I just let her wear whatever as it is school holiday - but it still leads to a tantrum and even though she has picked out what she wants to wear she will still have a rage over it. I tell her to choose something else - she will have a rage over that too. To be honest I let her get on with it, tell her that she can go to her room and come out when she is ready. I will send her to bed and find out that during the night she will have got up and changed several times into other clothes and I find them when I make the bed. She refuses to wear trousers, skirts that have a fixed waistband, dresses that hang loose - heck, who needs an excuse, LOL.

    No, I do not dwell on it either else I would always be stressed I do tel her well done etc... when she comes down and has finally got dressed.

    I've never understood about this either, ignoring bad behaviour is hardly a punishment as far as I can see, until now I have been doing as advised.

    I now have on the reward chart 'I will not have tantrums'. So far it has been star free.....
  • shazroboshazrobo Forumite
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    some advice that i was given re star charts was not to mention the bad behavior, and focus on the good
    eg, instead of saying no tantrums, put something like today i will get dressed nicely
    i know what your going thru, and it does get easier,
    mine didnt like being put in their room either, and would start kicking and punching,
    instead i used to have them sit in corner of room, where i could keep a discrete eye on them but ignore them as much as poss, and maybe leave couple colouring books or whatever nearby, and if they got bored they could do them, not exactly a punishment i know, but it stopped them getting attention from me for bad behaviour, and the tantrums would usually end much quicker.
    shaz
    enjoy life, we only get one chance at it:)
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